Defence School of Photography

Welcome to the Defence School of Photography page. Over the coming months watch this space for information relating to our Centenary Celebrations.

In the summer of 1915 the first military technical training school was established at Farnborough and was known as the School of Photography (SOP). After WW1, the SOP carried out business as usual, incorporating the multitude of technical changes into its training, until the outbreak of the Second World War when it became necessary to open a second school at Blackpool. After WW2 the School had to

Operating as usual


DAVE HUMPHREY FUNERAL - Saturday 24th September

Ladies & Gents,
The arrangements for Dave's Funeral are now confirmed and you are all invited to attend any or all of the events below:

10:00 - Service & Burial at St Mary's Church, Sheriffhales, Shropshire, TF11 8QY.
11:45 - Wake at the Red House, High Street, Albrighton, WV7 3LU.

Family Flowers Only Please.

Donations to:
Macmillan Cancer Care or ITU Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Donations on the day will be split between both.




Dear All,
Following the sad loss of our dear friend and colleague Dave Humphrey, his wife Carole has asked us to post the following information regarding the provisional funeral arrangements. Once everything has been finalised and confirmed we will post again.

Saturday 24th September - 10:00
Sheriffhales Church, Shropshire. (Service and Burial)

Please feel free to share this advance notice, but be aware it is only provisional at this stage.

Andy Malthouse.



Ladies and Gents,
May I take this opportunity on behalf of Tim Robinson, myself and all the extended team of people involved in knitting together the last few days, to say a massive 'thank you' to each and every one of you that attended the Open Days and Centenary Dinner.
You really are a special band of people.

Sat in that hangar last night looking out across the assembled mass of photogs, friends and family, made us realise what a privilege it has been to facilitate the opportunity to celebrate such a milestone in our shared histories. Sure, we have the common bond of having studied and worked in the hallowed corridors of the school, but it is without doubt the people that made it all so special. I only wish there had been more time to talk with many more of you.

I hope your journeys home were safe and the consequences of any excesses are mild!

Andy Malthouse.




Brilliant day today at the first of our two Open Days. Massive thanks to all contributors and great to see so many former Photogs. It's been so good we'll do it all again tomorrow!



As most of you will be aware, we are sharing our Centenary Weekend with the V-Fest music festival at nearby Weston Park.
This will mean an increased volume of traffic, especially on the Friday.
The M54 is well controlled by Traffic Officers, but it is strongly advised to avoid the A5 at all costs! The A41 from Wolverhampton is an alternative route if coming from the south.
As a result, please allow yourselves extra time to get to Cosford and remember we are open until 16:00.
Saturday is usually much less affected, due to the party goers already being ensconced in the festival.

We hope your journeys are relatively painless and very much look forward to seeing you all for our special weekend.




Please see detail of one of the key note trade seminar presentations to be made on both Friday and Saturday.

Title : New Photographic Features with the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop and Lightroom.
Since the release of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, there have been numerous updates to both Photoshop and Lightroom that Photographers are now able to enjoy and make their photographs even more amazing. This session will cherry pick some of the most valuable of these features and show how they can be used alongside your existing skills, as well as opening up some new photographic workflows and techniques.

Presented by Richard Curtis.
Richard is a Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe and is focused on the Digital Imaging Solutions in the UK (Lightroom and Photoshop). Richard is also a Photographer with an interest on street, travel and landscape photography, and has been making images for over 20 years.



An integral part of the Centenary 'Open Days' is the attendance of our corporate partners and a programme of seminars by industry experts over both days. Below is the current list of attendees and provisional timetable of events.



Entry is free to all but please ensure you have registered with us to attend.



Every now and then you get a phone call that really sparks your interest. One such occurrence happened late last week with a call from the Photo Section at RAF Wittering, asking if a hoard of crated Processing Machines would be of interest!
Whilst clearing out a hangar at the Cambridgeshire base, half a dozen Type 11 Processors were discovered that must have sat untouched for at least 15 years, if not longer. The F731 labels on some seem to indicate ex 41 Sqn heritage, but others could date from the Harrier Force days!
We now intend to organise their relocation to DSOP for assessment and hopeful display in the future. What a find eh? I think the RIC's never really died…....they are just sleeping!




In response to the request from Sponge below, here are couple of course photos from the archives.
It is the intention to eventually digitise all these groups and make them available, we have most dating back as far as 1924. This is going to be a major undertaking that will be tackled after the Centenary, so please be patient.
So as a little taster I give you APP2/06 & APP2/41, fresh faced youths one and all, before reputations were tarnished!




We have amassed a fantastic collection of military photographic artefacts in the school and walking around the 'Centenary Room' yesterday I snapped a trio of my personal favourites.

Negative Storage Box - This basic pine wooden box was one of hundreds made by the Imperial War Museum following WW1, to safely store the vast quantity of glass negatives exposed by the military during the conflict. Ironically they even all survived a direct hit on the Lambeth Road site by the Luftwaffe during WW2! The box was kindly donated by our friend Hilary Roberts from the IWM.

Zeiss Super Ikonta Camera - Another item on loan from the IWM is this little beauty. Although quite complicated to operate this was the camera of choice for the men of the Army Film & Photographic Unit during WW2. Most of those iconic images from the battlefields of Europe, North Africa and the Far East would have been taken on one of these.

Nikon F3 Camera - What needs to be said about this faithful little workhorse! I am of the generation that was blooded on the F3 and as such it holds much affection. Still hard to be bettered by the advances in technology in the intervening years.

These and hundreds of other items are all on display during our 'Open Days' on 21-22 August and if you haven't already got your name down to visit, get in touch at [email protected]




Right then, first up as requested by Mick Gladwin.
This venerable 9" Processing Machine is one of our longer term projects, and as retrieved from years of storage was in a bit of a state. We believe it may be the only surviving example of this once numerous cornerstone of the Air Recce scene. As you can see, due to the inability to order Meths through stores these days, we have modified the last wash tank to take Single Malt Whisky (which we have gallons of) to help with the film drying!
There are quite a few examples of its 70mm sister, the Type 11, still around. More about a recent Type 11 find later!


Hands up who would like to see some more photos of nostalgic stuff? Requests considered!



The first of our large toys arrived on site today ready for the Centenary Open Days. Those of you in the know will instantly recognise it as a Print Cabin, the Photo G's amongst you won't care and the rest of you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Just opening the door and getting the smell makes it all come flooding back!

Happy days,



Hi Everyone,
I'm going to be placing a final order for the Special Edition Whisky at the start of July, so if you still want to acquire a bottle (or three) please contact me ASAP to avoid disappointment. The first order has now arrived and looks rather nice, taste not too shabby either!
Remember it's a 100 year wait for the next batch!


As promised a while ago now, here are a couple of photo's of the progress made in the 'Centenary Room' at the DSOP. Most of you may remember the old museum in Room 4 that was disbanded many years ago. The first image shows the blank canvas back in Feb 14 prior to the full refurbishment of the room and installation of the display cabinets. The second image is a little taster of where we are now, thanks to the stirling efforts of a small dedicated band of volunteers. There is still plenty to do, but we are on course for the grand opening in August. We are always keen to hear from any ex military phots that might have equipment suitable for display in the room.


The initial order for the Whisky will be going in this weekend. Thanks to all of you who have supported this side venture, Bill supplied a taster last week at the Army Seminar and I don't think you will be disappointed.
If you missed the boat don't worry…….we can order in batches of half a dozen from now on! See advert below for details.


Just a gentle nudge to those of you still wishing to attend the Centenary Dinner that have not paid the deposit…… know you want to be there!
If you haven't applied and would like to attend then get in touch, there are still a few places left.
Andy M.


Hi Folks,

A good number of you will have received your reservation invites in the last couple of days.
If you have not, it will be because you haven't registered at [email protected] meaning we have no way to contact you directly.
So, if you still want to come please get in touch soon to avoid disappointment. Full details in the post 3 down.

Local accommodation is also still plentiful despite rumours to the contrary!



Thanks to the sterling efforts of Bill Bain, we are now able to take orders for the Centenary Whisky. Please see details below. 21/02/2015

B&B Wolverhampton | B&B Telford | Guest House Accommodation | Wolverhampton Telford UK

In an attempt to help all you good folks wishing to attend the Centenary events in August here is a list of some local accommodation. We obviously have no control over the availability, quality or price of these establishments but it gives you a steer.
Please also understand we have had to find beds for 100+ serving photographers at Cosford which has saturated the on-unit rooms.


Wayside Guest House -
Patshull Park Hotel -
The Mount Hotel -
White Cottage B&B -
Church Farm Shifnal -
West Ridge B&B -
Spiders Webb B&B -
The Whitehouse Hotel -
Telford Hotel And Golf Resort -
Days Inn Hotel Telford Ironbridge -
Holiday Inn Telford Ironbridge -
The White House Hotel -
International Hotel Telford -
Ramada Telford -
Park Inn Radisson Telford -
The Tontine -
Calcutts House -
The Stanage B&B -
Springhill B&B -
Premiere Inn Telford -
Priorslee Rooms -
Premiere Inn Telford International centre -

Holiday inn Wolverhampton -
Premier Inn Wolverhampton -
Quality Hotel Wolverhampton -
Ely House Hotel -
A Park View Hotel -
Mercure Wolverhampton Goldthom Hotel -
Britannia Hotel Wolverhampton - B&B Wolverhampton and B&B Telford Wayside Guest House. We provide Guest House Accommodation Comfy beds, home cooked breakfasts UK


Updated Centenary Information Flyer


Hi Folks,

Just a short message to reassure a few people we have not gone into hibernation and that planning for the Centenary Weekend is continuing apace. Confirmations from exhibitors, displays, caterers etc etc are falling into place.

Concern has understandably been raised regarding the dates now clashing with V-Fest being held at Weston Park over the same weekend. When we first started planning the Centenary events some 12 months ago, V-Fest was on the following weekend and they have, I believe, changed dates for operational reasons?!? The traffic on the M54 will be heavier on the Friday afternoon but Saturday should be fine as revellers will be rocking away in the festival by then! We will post all updates regarding travel restrictions but from experience of previous years, access to Cosford is usually OK.
Additionally local accommodation appears unaffected as most V-Festers bring their own tents to stay on site. Having phoned around numerous local hotels and B&B's, they inform us plenty of rooms are still available.

We will be contacting all of you that have requested a place at the Gala Dinner in the next few weeks, to ask for a £20 non-refundable deposit to secure your seat. You will also receive details of timings, dress code, special dietary requirements etc.

On a separate note, if Malt Whisky is your thing, have a look over on the JSOP page, where ex-Army Phot Bill Bain is organising a special commemorative run.

Thats all for now but if you have any other queries or suggestions, feel free to contact us at [email protected]





Due to the unavailability of some of our exhibitors, we have taken the reluctant decision to cancel the Open Day on Thursday 20th August.
The Friday and Saturday Open Days at DSOP and the Gala Dinner are very much still on and we look forward to seeing many of you there.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to those of you who were intending to visit on the Thursday and hope you are able to make either or both of the other days.


Hi Folks,

Just to reiterate………..please send requests to attend the Fri/Sat Open Days and the Gala Dinner to [email protected]

This is so that we can contact you direct when the time comes and compile a list of visitors needing access to RAF Cosford on the days.

Interest so far has been high……..It's gonna get messy!



Best wishes to Photogs past and present and to all of you who have visited the site.

Well 2015 is upon us and what will be a milestone year for the School. So what is planned and what is going on behind the scenes so far?

Well, within the DSOP, the 'Centenary Room' (former museum) has been resurrected in Room 4 and a fully refurbished display space is now being populated with military photographic ephemera. This work is being carried out by a small but dedicated team of former and current staff, and a taster of progress so far will be posted soon. The Centenary Room will form the centre-piece of the Open Days planned for 21-22 August when the whole of DSOP will be receiving visitors. Each of the Service Photographic Branches will be showing their wares, past and present and our industry partners will be putting on a mini Photo Trade Show. Those of you of an Air Recce persuasion will be able to wallow in the nostalgia of a clutch of ATREL Cabins and of course the subject of Photographic Training will feature prominently.
As all of this is taking place 'inside the wire' it is imperative that all of you wishing to attend the Open Days let us know, in order that your name can be added to the guest list to access the unit.

As with all Photog gatherings the social aspect is high on the agenda!
The Gala Dinner, taking place on the evening of Saturday 22nd August in the hanger at the RAF Museum Cosford, is booking out fast. Again do not delay in getting your name to us if you wish to attend what will prove to be a historic evening. Menu details and a request for a non-refundable deposit will go out soon to those of you who have committed so far.
I'm also of the mind to hold a 'less formal' gathering on the Friday (21st Aug) evening (probably in the Sgt's Mess), so your thoughts and expressions of interest in this would also be appreciated. You know the sort of thing, chat, banter, booze, banter, bazz-guns, booze etc etc!

The success of all of this, will of course, be largely dependant on you guys. So if you have any ideas or suggestions to enhance the Centenary Celebrations then please get in touch.

We look forward to hearing from you all.


Andy Malthouse.



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